"It's not easy," left fielder Ryan Braun said. "This game is not supposed to be easy. Life isn't easy. We have no choice but to move forward."
They'll return home with some missing parts. Left-hander Chris Narveson had season-ending shoulder surgery since the Brewers last played at Miller Park. Starting first baseman Mat Gamel and shortstop Alex Gonzalez suffered serious right knee injuries on the trip. Outfielder Carlos Gomez strained his left hamstring and joined the group on the disabled list.
Can the Brewers salvage their season? Manager Ron Roenicke believes they can. Last year on May 6, the Brewers were a season-worst six games under .500 and 5 1/2 games out of first place. They wound up with 96 regular-season wins and the division crown.
"Everything is going to have to go like it did last year, where on both sides of the ball we do what we're capable of doing," Roenicke said. "I really believe that we are [capable]. Regardless of the injuries, we still have a good enough team that we can do that."
The silver lining Sunday was that, for the first time in five games, a Brewers player did not exit with an injury.
The bad news was that it did not lead to a win.
Milwaukee tied the game with an unearned run in the ninth, when Corey Hart reached on an error and pinch-hitter Travis Ishikawa extended the game by capping a nine-pitch at-bat against Giants closer Santiago Casilla with a game-tying two-out double. Ishikawa, the former Giant, fouled off five pitches during the battle, including three with the count full.
"You're obviously trying to win the game, but just to be able to give us a chance to win is huge," Ishikawa said. "I knew he didn't want to walk me."
After a would-be Brewers rally fizzled in the top of the 11th inning, the Giants staged the decisive strike. Milwaukee reliever Tim Dillard found himself in a bases loaded jam with one out. The Brewers employed their five-man infield, with Braun manning shortstop, but pinch-hitter Hector Sanchez dumped the winning hit into left field.
"It was the first walk-off of my career," Sanchez said.
"He looked comfortable, poised, in that situation," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's not easy for a young player to control his adrenaline. He didn't try to do too much with it. He just put it in play."
Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez logged two RBIs, but Giants starter Matt Cain was terrific over seven innings, holding Milwaukee to two runs on six hits, with one walk and 10 strikeouts.
It was the ninth double-digit strikeout game in Cain's career and his second this season. The Brewers are still looking for their first in 2012 from a starting staff that is 8-10 with a 4.99 ERA, including Shaun Marcum's quality start on Sunday.
Roenicke's primary concern Sunday was the Brewers' offense.
"We're not swinging the bats that well," he said. "We've had some opportunities, we're just not getting that two-out hit. Nothing is really going right offensively."
Until the ninth, Cain was set to win for the first time in four starts. He retired 12 batters in a row during one stretch from the second inning to the sixth. Rickie Weeks snapped the Brewers' funk with a double, his first extra-base hit since April 24 and his first hit out of the infield since the first day of the Brewers' nine-game road trip. He would score on Ramirez's sacrifice fly.
The Brewers had a good chance in the 11th against Giants reliever Clay Hensley after Hart led off with a single. The Brewers put on a hit-and-run play, but Jonathan Lucroy hit a sinking line drive that was caught on the run by Giants left fielder Melky Cabrera, who threw to first with plenty of time to double up Hart.
Reliever Javier Lopez recorded the final out of the inning and wound up the winning pitcher.
"[Hart] saw where the ball was, he thought the ball may have a chance to drop in, which we thought it may, also," Roenicke said. "He went a little bit too far."
Hart was slow in returning to first base, partly because he had to go back and tag second. Roenicke was fine with Hart's hustle on that play.
"He wasn't going to make it," Roenicke said.
Next up for the Brewers: six games at Miller Park against the Reds and Cubs.
"We just have to do a better job offensively," Ramirez said. "I think this last week, our starting pitching was pretty good in San Diego and here. We just can't get anything going offensively."